There are three grades within the NHS career structure. New entrants to the profession usually start in a Pre Registration post (Band 6 Grade) as a Trainee. Trainees are usually based in a single hospital Department, but often undertake periods of secondment to obtain wider experience. They follow an approved three year programme of training leading to a Certificate of Completion of Pre Registration Training. The training period may include completion of an MSc degree in clinical biochemistry.
Following successful completion of the training programme, Trainees may apply for Higher Specialist Training (HST) posts in the Band 7 grade. In the more junior of these, clinical biochemists will begin to undertake supervisory roles and develop areas of special expertise. Many HST posts are now established by NHS Regions and involve rotation schemes around a number of hospitals to provide balanced training. HST leads to higher professional qualifications (normally FRCPath).
When a clinical biochemist can demonstrate competence to practice, by successfully completing a Pre Registration training programme and gaining 3 years wide experience of scientific duties in clinical laboratories, he or she can apply to become Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered after gaining a certificate of attainment from the Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS). After completion of HST, clinical biochemists move to more senior positions, often called Principal Biochemist (Band 8a). These posts usually involve taking charge of specialised sections of a Department, and have a higher degree of personal responsibility for all aspects of the work.